Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why 0 wire?

When the wireless connection fails on my laptop, as seems to happen quite regularly, I get the following message:
None of your preferred networks are available.
Which is annoying on two counts: first, it should really be "None of your preferred networks *is* available", since "none" is singular; but also because when I want to complain about Apple's lousy grammar, I have to use Small Boo's computer.

9 comments:

Geoff said...

I put it into Google and they didn't suggest "did you mean..."

expat@large said...

I think 'none' is a collective preposition(?) meaning all of those that are not one, and therefore plural. Because more than one network might not be available, you see; indeed there might well be several hundred thousand of your favorite networks that are not available.

"Not one is available."
"None are available."

Shrugs. Sound right to me. I'll call my Grade Three teacher...

Billy said...

I think the same thing whenever I hear Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.

There's 2 of them...!

expat@large said...

Where's my Fowler's?

none. 1. It is a mistake to suppose that the pronoun[ah!, a pronoun!] is singular only and must all costs be followed by singluar verbs etc.; the OED explicitly states that the plural construction is commoner. [Emphasis mine]

The expat speak Enrish orright, lah!

Chris said...

Try changing the wireless channel, Tim.

Coo, that's an appropriate word verification: 'inonsus'

Rog said...

Maybe it's been "canceled".

garfer said...

I suggest you read some Muriel Spark.

Morton Shadow said...

For fear of expanding the pedantry still further, is it possible for an apple to be possessed of lousy grammar?

Probably Laxton's Superb...


And, what's more - [lapses into Amis on Updike style literary style-pedant mode] - isn't there a better adjective to be found in the old lingo than lousy?)

;?

xxx
Mort

w.v. exattes (as they say in France)

Tim Footman said...

Oh well, that woke a few of you up.

I was relying not on Fowler, but on the sage advice of Stephen Fry, who once explained the none = not one = singular rule to Alan Davies on QI. (Is it just me, or is the Fry/Davies dynamic a bit like Basil/Manuel?)

Except that now of course Fry's doing this R4 show saying that it's impossible to reinforce correctness and so yeah wha'ever.